Shima Seiki – KNITifying The World With Smart, Speedy, Sustainable Solutions

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Leading computerised knitting machine manufacturer SHIMA SEIKI MFG., LTD. of Wakayama, Japan, participated in ITMA 2019 introducing a comprehensive lineup of its products including new WHOLEGARMENT® knitting machines, computerised flat knitting machines, and computer graphic design systems as well as various digital solutions making their debut at ITMA.

SHIMA SEIKI exhibited under the theme “KNITify™ the World — Smart Solutions in Textiles.” The theme illustrates the flexibility of SHIMA SEIKI products for catering to various industries in addition to its traditional customer base in the apparel industry. In its approach to proposing knitting as an alternative manufacturing solution for non-fashion related industries, SHIMA SEIKI demonstrated what was impossible to knit in the past can be knit now, and what was never even considered for knitting is now made just as well—if not better—with KNITification.

Through combined application of its patented core technology that is widely accepted as the benchmark of the industry, SHIMA SEIKI disrupts the conventional perception of knitting, offering its benefits to prospective customers who are as yet unaware of the true and current potential that knitting possesses. To this end, the latest technological contributions aimed at promoting knitted applications in various fields ranging from fashion, sports, shoes and accessories to medical, automotive, aeronautical and other wearable and industrial textile applications were on display at ITMA 2019.

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Knitting offers great potential for technical textiles with its inherent characteristics: stretch and compression. Flat knitting provides further potential with its capability to shape fabric on the machine. New knitting techniques such as inlay made possible with special loop pressers featured on our new N.SVR-SP series machines add further value to knitting and have gained particular attention for its ability to produce hybrid knit-weave fabrics that allow insertion of technical yarns heretofore considered incompatible with knitting, into existing knit fabrics. These include carbon fibre, monofilament and even metallic yarns.

SHIMA SEIKI has even developed a special Yarn Unwinding Device for unwinding spools of technical yarn to ease yarn feed for such difficult-to-handle material.

WHOLEGARMENT® knitting maximizes the benefits of shaped knitting even further by expanding that potential to three dimensions. WHOLEGARMENT® knitting is capable of producing knitted items in their entirety on the machine, and allows 3D preforms and tubing to be produced without sewing.

Elimination of sewing allows for faster turnaround and high potential for on-demand knitting. The seam-free nature also ensures continuity of the fabric, allowing functional yarns such as those made from conductive fibres to wrap around the entire body without interruption for applications in smart garments and wearable technology. 3D knitting provides fit, comfort, lightness and mobility —key factors that make seam-free WHOLEGARMENT® knitwear ideal as wearable technology platforms. Three WHOLEGARMENT® machines were on display, including the new MACH2VS machine making its debut at ITMA.

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The benefits of WHOLEGARMENT® knitting are furthermore showcased in its ultimate form in the MADE2FIT™ area of the SHIMA SEIKI booth, demonstrating mass-customization as only on-demand knitting technology can provide.

In addition to machine technology the latest evolution of SHIMA SEIKI’s SDS-ONE APEX series 3D design system debuts at ITMA as an equally important factor in modern knit production.

Flexible knit manufacturing begins with flexible design, and the new SDS-ONE APEX4 offers a fully comprehensive set of tools and functions, as well as the capability for ultra-realistic simulation that realises Virtual Sampling. In whatever field, when countless variations must be evaluated before arriving at a final design, virtual product samples can be used to streamline the decision-making process by minimizing the enormous amount of resources—time, cost and material—normally associated with producing actual samples for each variation. This allows for more designs and design variations to be considered with much less waste. When approved, the same data can be used to program machines for immediate knitting, significantly reducing lead time.

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Aside from the technological innovations in hardware and software that make up the company’s line-up of knitting machines and design systems, SHIMA SEIKI also provides various IT solutions for assisting its customers in establishing a smart supply chain.

All such solutions are organised into a one-stop website called SHIMA SEIKI Online Services (“SHIMA online” for short) and consists of the following digital solutions: staf® (shima trend archive and forecast) web-based product planning tool with trend archive; Shima KnitPLM® product data management, production management and monitoring system; FAQ; Users’ Site customer support site; yarnbank™ yarn sourcing website; and E-learning tutorial website. With SHIMA online, SHIMA SEIKI sheds its traditional role of manufacturer and becomes a truly full-featured solutions-provider for the knitting industry.

With a fully comprehensive collection of the latest innovative products and services, SHIMA SEIKI technology at ITMA 2019 demonstrates smart, speedy and sustainable production that further secures its leading role in KNITifying the World.

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